Category Archives: Philosophy

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 76. On Politics.

Ireland is currently in the process of electing its new president. By now we will know who exactly has thrown their hopeful hat into the ring. I’m hoping that Senator David Norris has made the cut, personally. But if there’s one thing that riles me it’s ignorance.

Statements like “we don’t need a president” and “we can’t afford a president” say to me that some people don’t know their constitution from their elbows. Ireland is a republic; republics require presidents. Anything else requires changing our constitution and political identity.

Maybe they want a return to monarchy, I don’t know. Dictatorship maybe?

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 68. On Lying.

Lies are bad things, right? Honesty is the best policy; the truth will always come out, and lies will always catch up with you. Bear no false witness against your neighbour no matter how many times he leaves his rubbish in your garden.

The truth is, truth has its place. Lies have their places, too. As Dr House would say, “Everybody lies.” I lie, you lie, your government lies (no surprise there). But if we were to be truly moral, lying wouldn’t come into the equation. Not even to save someone’s life.

Too much truth can be dangerous too, though.

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 62. On Pleasure.

For those of you who are not sure, there is a distinct difference between pleasure and happiness. Pleasure exists in the here and now, for the most part. It consists of those little moments of bliss, such as winning the lottery, typing The End on your first manuscript, and going on a date that ends with many moments of pleasure over an extended period.

But these moments are transitional and do not in themselves constitute total happiness. They contribute to it, certainly, but happiness depends on more than just having a good time between the sheets or winning some cash.

 

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 61. On History.

I mentioned to a customer the other night that I was taking a weekend trip to London in a couple of weeks. He liked England, he said, it is steeped in history. Ireland, on the other hand, has no real history to speak of.

I disagreed. Ireland has a fascinating history because of its ties with England. For better or worse, our relationship with our closest neighbour is an essential part of our history.

Can you imagine someone writing an autobiography that didn’t include any relationships or active engagement with another living soul? It would be boring and isolationist. People need people.

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 58. On House.

Dr Gregory House is an asshole, an arrogant, self-satisfied pain in the butt – and I can’t get enough of him. Not many shows make me want to sit down and view whole seasons all at once, but there’s something about the anti-hero that resonates with the writer in me.

Hugh Laurie’s award-winning portrayal of House notwithstanding, there’s more to his character and the show as a whole that causes me to think long and hard about it, even well into the early hours of the morning. Ethical issues come to mind and I will write more on this very soon.

 

 

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 52. On Arguments.

Depending on what definition you use, an argument comes in many forms. Recently I’ve adopted the philosophical and logical definition. An argument is a statement in which premises (propositions) support a claim.

James was born in Ireland. James holds an Irish passport. Therefore James is an Irish citizen. This is a simple syllogism as popularised by Aristotle. You make a claim, then you back it up with supporting evidence. This is deductive logic at its finest.

Other types of arguments can result in name-calling, Internet hating, divorce, law-breaking and severe migraine. I can almost see Aristotle spinning in his grave.

 

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 49. On Montaigne.

Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 1592) was a French philosopher – but don’t hold that against him. He lived through turbulent times and survived long enough to gift the world his Essays. Rather than writing material so dry it made the Sahara seem like Hawaii, his engaging personality and writing style endeared him to readers past and present.

He asks us to look at the world through another’s eye. He got this idea from his cat. He wondered, “When I am playing with my cat, how do I know she is not playing with me?”

Once again, maybe cats know more than we do.